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First Year Study Demonstrates Improved Student Reading and Math Scores

Palo Alto, CA – November 28, 2005 — The Learning Systems Group of Freedom Scientific, Inc., developer of software for people who struggle to read, write or take tests, announced today the first year results of a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, School District pilot program designed to improve test scores. The pilot program is evaluating how to help under-performing students to improve test scores in the standardized Dakota STEP (State Test of Educational Progress). The Sioux Falls School District found that students using the Learning Systems Group’s TestTalker™ achieved a higher percentage of growth as compared to the overall school district’s results.

“All school districts are under the gun to meet new federal standards for academic performance,” remarked Terri Noldner, Sioux Falls School District’s Assistive Technology Coordinator. “In Sioux Falls, we are constantly looking for innovative approaches to help struggling students be successful under these tougher requirements. When we were introduced to TestTalker, we quickly saw the technology as a targeted approach to improve standardized test scores. TestTalker offered us an affordable and easy-to-learn option for our teachers and students.”

The Sioux Falls, South Dakota, School District is made up of 30 buildings that house its elementary, middle school, and high school students. During the 2005 Dakota STEP tests, approximately 50% of the school buildings had students using the TestTalker software. The pilot program has created a benchmark for the school district to measure progress for its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiative.

“We will be measuring growth across our student population based upon the Dakota STEP scaled scores,” said Sharon Schueler, Coordinator of Assessment and Evaluation for the Sioux Falls School District. “This pilot program using TestTalker has given our district a significant benchmark for tracking the effectiveness of new technologies used by non-proficient students. The positive results have fueled the momentum for broader deployment of TestTalker into all aspects of the curriculum.”

Special education teachers and administrators in the Sioux Falls School District make certain that the students select the assistive tools they need. “Once students become familiar with TestTalker,” added Noldner, “they request it for standardized tests as well as their regular class work. TestTalker enables our students to proceed at their own pace and remain in the classroom during testing exercises, instead of moving to a separate testing location.”

Cost Effective Technology Targets Test Score Improvement

Test Talker is a software solution that helps individuals become more successful when taking tests, completing worksheets and understanding study materials. TestTalker creates a computer version of a test or a worksheet that is identical to the paper rendition. The information seen on the screen is converted directly into the spoken word. For those who struggle to read and write, hearing questions being read out loud, while simultaneously seeing them highlighted on the page, helps increase the accuracy of answers. Students are most productive when they use TestTalker for test preparation and test-taking throughout the school year. School districts have chosen TestTalker as a cost effective tool for students to improve both standardized and classroom test scores.

“This initial Dakota STEP benchmark has demonstrated the power of dedicated teachers, willing students, and the TestTalker technology to yield impressive growth in academic performance,” said Roberta Brosnahan, Vice President and General Manager, Learning Systems Group, Freedom Scientific, Inc. “Sioux Falls School District has taken a leadership role in providing innovative solutions and assistive technologies to its struggling students.” She continued, “With TestTalker, our goal is to level the playing field for struggling students and provide schools with cost effective solutions to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals.”

About The Learning Systems Group, Freedom Scientific®

The Learning Systems Group, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, was founded in 2000 by a team of education and assistive technology experts to address the needs of students with reading-related learning challenges. The group’s award-winning products, WYNN™ and TestTalker™, are best known as the “teacher’s choice” among competitors and are currently sold in all 50 United States, Canada, the U.K., Puerto Rico, Mexico and Australia. Freedom Scientific, Inc. is also the world's leading manufacturer of assistive technology products for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

For more information about WYNN, TestTalker or the Learning Systems Group of Freedom Scientific, please visit or call (888) 223.3344.


WYNN and TestTalker are trademarks of Freedom Scientific, Inc.

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